Eagles Win League Opener
By Tim O’Sullivan
For the Independent
Coldin Shopp’s two-out bases loaded single in the bottom of the 8th inning pushed across the winning run in the Eagles 4-3 eight inning victory against North Eugene in their Midwestern League opener on Thursday afternoon at The Yard.
The win keeps the Eagles perfect on the young season with a 3-0 record.
The game winning rally was pieced together with two outs and no one on base. Bennett Rodgers drew a walk to push Highlanders starter Robby Ahlstrom from the game. Rodgers then stole second ahead of Nick Hall’s walk, then Preston Johnson was hit by a pitch to load the bases against reliever Grant Froehlich. Shopp worked the count to 2-1 before ripping a line drive down the left field line for the game winner.
“There’s a lot of things that went into Coldin getting a pitch to hit there,” said Eagles second year coach Josh Leedy. “As Bennett’s at (third) base, and (Froehlich) is in the windup, he draws the pitchers’ eyes (towards third). Ball one, shakes him, ball two. Now Coldin’s ahead in the count for a fastball to hit. We made the most of opportunities. Coldin’s up there for a reason.”
Shopp drove in three runs on the afternoon, all coming with two outs and the bases loaded. His pop up behind first base ticked off second baseman Drew Williams’ glove among a trio of defenders to give Eagle Point a 2-0 lead in the second. Dylan Marsh had three hits, including a one-out triple in the bottom of the fifth to tie the score at 3.
Though he took the loss, the Highlanders (0-4, 0-1 MWL) wasted Ahlstrom’s strong effort. The lefthander worked 7 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs (three earned), while striking out eight.
Shopp started for the second time this season, again earning a no-decision. In six innings, he gave up six hits and three earned runs, walking an uncharacteristic three batters while striking out six. Though not a hard-thrower, Shopp has struck out 14 batters in 10 2/3 innings so far.
Preston Johnson came out of the bullpen for the third time in as many games to earn the win with two scoreless innings. Johnson was consistently in trouble, but worked out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh, then stranded a runner at second in the eighth.
“They wrote goals down in the clubhouse, and they’re very lofty,” Leedy said of his senior-laden team. “Having seniors that competed all last year and learned how to compete…I’m hoping that pays off big time for us this year.
The Eagles travel to California’s Bay Area over spring break to play Firebaugh in a doubleheader on Friday to be played at Ohlone College in Fremont. The next home contest takes place on April 4th against Marist.